Our exhibition, René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle is now open at Tate Liverpool.

Here you can see over 100 paintings alongside drawings, collages, examples of Magritte’s commercial designs, as well as rarely seen photographs and films. The exhibition will include iconic paintings by the artist including Golconda (1953) and The Pleasure Principle (1937) as well as some more surprising works, offering visitors a fresh insight into the intriguing world of Magritte.

Magritte Tell us what you think Press
Darren and Christoph, curators of René Magritte introducing journalists to the exhibition
Magritte Tell us what you think Pleasure Principle
René Magritte, The Pleasure Principle 1937, on display at Tate Liverpool

We are enormously excited about this exhibition and encourage you to post your comments and messages about René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle here on the Tate blog.  I look forward to reading them.

Darren Pih, co-curator René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle


Mark Cawthra

Brilliant show, far more rigourous than the Hayward Show in 91. Everywhere you went you are met with an image you have grown up with, so great to see them all in the flesh. Did miss The Red Model tho, and I always wanted to see Reproduction Interdite too; Guess I'll have to wait another 20 years for that. Well done folks, amazing show.

Adrian Pulford

I had to make a big effort to travel to Liverpool for 'The Pleasure Principal' but boy was it worth it! I usually visit TB abd TM in London but as fan of Magritte's most famous works and surrealism in general this was a 'must see' opportunity. The famous paintings were wonderful. Clever, witty and unsettling. Magical to see them for real as opposed to reproduced in print. The photographs, drawings and letters gave a unique insight into Magritte's thinking and the historical contextr to his work. Finally, the actual 'Pleasure Principal' painting is a superb thing to see 'in the flesh' - wow! Love Magritte more than I did, thanks for the amazing show.

keith overton

A informative and entertaining exhibition.I was pleased to see the display of posters contrasted with the paintings and it was good to realise that Magritte had to live and how he used his art for commercial purposes. I was also pleased to see how many paintings were on show and that many of the best known were there. I have travelled (from Derby) to several special exhibitions at Tate Liverpool and think that this one of the best.

Neal Bamford

I didn't know much about Magritte other than I remembered some aspects of his work, the apple being one of them, and I had never visited Tate Liverpool before. Surrealism appeals to my sense of humour so I decided to make a trip and was not disappointed.

Both the gallery and exhibition are superb.

Of the exhibition itself, I loved the mixture of his work with the commercial pieces (specifically the 30s posters) and the photographs.

Two small criticisms would be the lack of an audio guide (though there was a talk which I chose not to attend) and that nothing of Magritte's penchant for forgery were mentioned (though to be fair I did read that off a well known web encyclopaedia site, so who knows how true it is).

I will happily visit Tate Liverpool in the future.

Shiela Roe

I visited the exhibition on Monday and I thought it was fantastic. I loved the way you set it out in the various themes and interests of the artist. I didn't know much about his work so this was really helpful, but the visit can be summed up mainly as sheer delight. Thank you for helping me to have a lovely day.


David BRown

It was a larger show than I'd expected, and lots of Magritte pictures I had not seen before. I liked the way that the collection was hung, and learned more about Magritte - for example I never realised that he had spent time in London.

A real first class show. Many thanks for putting it together.

Next time though you need better teeshirts in the shops - the one on offer in the shop didn't really attract, and I would have loved to have bought quality ones with the clouds or train or bird symbols on them...

Winston Parr

A well considered show of a representative selection of the paintings by Magritte. You certainly showed the London Tate Britain how to do it NB I have just returned from London and I thought the Barry Flanagen exhibition was a waste of the Tate gallery space. I think in that case, the emperor is not wearing any clothes

Duncan Fry

Only just made it and very glad I did. I've always liked Magritte's work and found the themed approach interesting but thought the "pornography" a bit schoolboyish. I was also pleased to see his lobster telephone still on display in the other gallery - in a show curated by Carol Anne Duffy.

John Hilton

The paintings are generally superb with excellent renditions of rocks, clouds, people. The earlier paintings show the darker more sombre side of Magritte, the rendition of the hands is let down by the join of the thumb which detracts from the overall message of each picture. I was fascinated by the individual frames, which were original and selected by the artist or the owners. It would be very expensive, but if the frames could be changed or modified during the course of the exhibition, even in a small way, I think this would make this static exhibition come to life and have the viewers discussing and questioning what they had seen on different visits.

Catherine Gleeson

I came over from Ireland for the day to see the exhibition and it was better than I had expected and well worth the trip. What a wonderful exhibition, so much in it and great escapism and pure pleasure. It brings a smile to my face thinking of it. Thank you


I have always loved Magritte's work and thought the exhibition was brilliant with a fantastic display of works. When I visited the Tate art students were around but were polite and didnt crowd the paintings. When I was an art student I studied Magrittes commercial work so it was great to see the real thing. My sister liked the way the rooms were divided making it easy to follow his life in painting. All in all one of the best exhibitions I have seen well done to Tate Liverpool.

Don Collishaw

The visit to the Magritte exhibition was the planned highlight of my holiday tour (I live in Sussex)and was well worth the visit. I knew a number of the paintings but had not studied Magritte before.

I went with my daughter, who lives within commuting distance, who knew nothing about Magritte in advance, and who also enjoyed it.

Nicest thing was no London crowds, so it was easy to see all the exhibits.

M Pollinger

Glorious exhibition; wonderful location and kind, helpful staff. The only cavil being the number of immovable students crowded around the paintings sketching either in semi-circles of stools or sprawled on the floor leaving no room between them and the exhibits. In all instances it was impossible to get near the paintings and certainly none attempted to move to accommodate the public and even when politely requested to move, some did so with ill grace. In fact, it was an unnecessary distraction and inconvenience. My husband, who has Parkinson's Disease found himself tripping over legs and satchels - as indeed I did. Could not specials times be reserved specifically for art students. They behaved as if the Exhibition had been specially mounted for them alone. So, wonderful experience apart from the art students.

mark greer

I really enjoyed this exhibition and will be coming back for a second or third look for sure, well hung and lit, good thematic presentation, nice mixture of classics and unknown, my only slight gripe is that as i don't understand much french then a translation of the words in some of the paintings would be handy. very nice ham butty and cup of tea afterwards too

Sandra Perkins

I enjoyed the exhibition on the whole, so much better than the Picasso exhibition. I have to agree with the comments about the lighting especially in the first room which even on a bright sunny day was very dim.

Sarah-Jane Minot

Like many others, it appears, I made the trip from London just to see this exhibition, and agree that it was completely worth the travel. I couldn't believe how large and comprehensive it was, and it was well and interestingly hung. I also found that the lighting sometimes caused a glare that I had to move around to see past, but I think that really was my only criticism. There were a lot less people than the popular exhibitions in London, which was a bonus, as it made the whole experience more pleasurable.

Congratulations on an excellent show. I had been a little disappointed when I travelled to Liverpool for Klimt, and worried that this exhibition would also be underwhelming - it was the exact opposite.

Joanna Hodge

Its a shame is has to come off on October 16.. any chance of an extension? its a great show..

Hugh Lappin

Found myself smiling so much along with rather than at this wonderful exhibition. Just a pity that one private owner refused to let you display La reproduction interdite. But there was so much else to enjoy. Well done. Hugh


I came from Paris especially for this expo and for the Marina Abramovic play in Manchester. I loved the expo, it had all of the important work (except one, the eye/sky). Not sure about the commercial work - on the one hand it's interesting to know he did that too, on the other it's not really on the same level... Did not like the dictionary catalog, would have preferred something with less text and more photos of paintings. But these are all details, it was a great expo which I will remember for a very long time. Thanks. And as it was my first time in Manchester/Liverpool, as a Stone Roses fan I was happy to also just sit there and watch the Mersey through the window.


I completely agree with James' comment. I went, as always, with an open mind and with a little knowledge of Surrealism and Magritte's work and had not read any reviews. I went to find out more about Magritte and to see lesser know works. I became very irritated by the introductory words on the walls of each room and the accompanying texts which seemed to impose a merely academic and structural interpretation on his sometimes sad, sometimes comic, sometimes revolutionary works. There was no encouragement to explore the emotional language in the work, or laugh at the jokes the jobbing artist played. When we went round again and really looked, really experienced the work it was magnificent, deep and varied, and provided some insight into the man himself. Loved the actual works, but the over-intellectualised design of the exhibition had a disconnecting effect and pushed us away from Magritte. I want to see all the works again but curated differently!

John MacGregor

My visit was part of a transit from London to Glasgow; I am glad I stopped. I got an insight to an artist who apart from the obvious media exposures I was unaware of; I was fascinated by the petrified paintings. My only adverse comment was the size of the print on the notices ... it meant putting my glasses on and taking them off. And I and several others had to go close to the notices so blocking others views.

Richard Lebus

It was a real shame that there was no audio guide. Tate Modern did an excellent audio guide for Miro. Why didn't Tate Liverpool do one for Magritte? I'd love to know.

Mark Bithell

Enjoyed this Exhibition immensely, so really well done to all concerned !! Saw a few of my favourites alongside work I had never seen before and also work I wouldn't have associated with him. Really well laid out also ...but I have to say the the lighting in certain areas wasn't too good. Other than that, a brilliant visit to my favourite museum !! Ate in the cafe and that was up to it's usual high standard !! Thank you !! Already looking forward to my next visit !!


Really enjoyed the exhibition. Just the right length and found the grouping by theme/info on wall in each room useful.

Would have liked more info about individual paintings though. Only about one per room had any info other than title and date.


Wonderful exhibition,Tate Liverpool really demonstrate how to display these major viewings.Staff helpful and informed especially Alice.

Blair Allwood

Fascinating to contrast Magritte's perhaps cerebral surrealism (the relationship between image & reality) with Dalí's more visceral approach. Minor points : would have liked an audio guide, why wasn't the poster version of L'empire des lumieres in the shop the same one as in the exhibition?, & to hide a dozen erotic drawings behind a curtain in a space the size of a wardrobe was just silly.

Sue Mayo

Although my 11 year old son has been to been to many exhibitions, this was the first one where I never felt the need to nudge him, or intervene. He was totally absorbed, (as was I). The way that the rooms were themed made it a smooth journey through, and the sheer variety of the work really stood out.

We then went on to make a wild pair of Magritte boots in the family activities room, where he was encouraged not to just play, but to really look back at Magritte for his inspiration. A great day out.


Thoroughly enjoyed this extensive & well curated exhibition. I was not familiar with his "Epoque Vache" or posters so these were an extra treat for me. I took a friend who also raved about it. Well done Tate Liverpool! Klimt, Picasso & now Magritte, brilliant! Thank you.


A really superb exhibition, engaging and informative. Hope to make a second visit before it ends.

Bev Paul

I enjoyed the pictures more when they were not covered by glass so the texture of the oils was clearer. Paintings covered with a perspex shield where even worse. Lighting was too low in some areas. A great exhibition and reminded us of avisit to Brussels to see his paintings a few years ago.


Greatly enjoyed the exhibition and will make sure to visit again before October. I missed the audioguide, though, how come it was not available on this occasion?

K R Seddon

As someone who researches the conservation of important manuscripts in collaboration with the British Library, let me reinforce Darren's comments. Light initiates the oxidative photodegradation of dyes and pigments on all surfaces - organic dyes are much more sensitive than inorganic pigments; anything exhibited is in danger. This is why dim light is essential - all displays are an exercise in risk management. If you doubt this, visit the Hermitage, and see the paintings of Degas and Picasso which were stored in the dark for 50 years (WWII loot); their colours glow compared to what we have become used to! Tate Liverpool did a splendid job - allowing us to see the paintings and drawings whilst conserving them for the enjoyment of future generations.

David Gordon

Martin, I had the same problem for years as my eyes got older. I then got a pair of varifocal specs, and suddenly exhibitions were much easier. i just tilt my head at the right angle for whatever I'm looking at (I'm told it's an "old people" characteristic, but what the...). Do recommend this - makes the rest of life outside the gallery so much easier too.

K R Seddon

Wonderful, thoughtful, well presented, well lit, exceptional selection, and good explanations. A wonderful sequel to the Picasso tour de force last year. Two minor points; a few seats would have helped for the elderly, and the excellent video clips would have been clearer in a closed off area. So - next year Matta?

Caroline Clarke

I went to liverpool from London yesterday specifically to visit the Magritte exhibition. It was a day well spent. I have been to other Magritte exhibitions but nothing as comprehensive or as well structured as this one. I thought the room introductions were excellent. Thank you for an enjoyable and informative experience.

Helen Glendinning

I am a member of Tate, therefore often visit exhibitions more than once, I previously visited the Magritte with a friend earlier this summer, however did not comment then as I had plans to visit with my husband. We viewed the exhibition yesterday, and were totally stunned by the range and depth of it. I had mentioned this previously with my friend, and have had many a long conversation about the artworks chosen for the display. My husband particularly liked the way in which the exhibition was themed, and I also liked the thematic approach. We often visit Tate, mostly Liverpool but also London on occasion. I am always thrilled with the exhibitions, however, the Magritte and The Klimt ones were particularly stunning. I shall hopefully continue with my membership long into the future. Well done to everyone concerned with this exhibition.


A fantastic collection of pieces, and I liked seeing the range of work. I was really disappointed with the lighting - it isn't just about displaying things in the dark, necessarily, as some rooms worked well (the final one with coloured walls was brilliant), the problem was that the lights reflect off the paintings themselves (and those with screen are almost impossible to see). This seemed to be worse in rooms with windows (it was a very sunny day).

I'm glad we went on a quiet day, as positioning oneself in front of the paintings so you could see them properly would have been tricky if it had been busy. The films were excellent - perhaps they could have been separated and displayed on two separate screens though as it took quite a long time to cycle through to the one I really wanted to see (and there was no sound, so it wouldn't have been a disturbance).

I also really liked the Robert Therrien: Smoke Signals exhibition which tied in to aspects of Magritte. The whole exhibition was really great, but just marred by the lighting.


Brilliant exhibition, I am a Tate London member and was in Liverpool for a conference and had the chance to go on members day before it opened to the public. It is very comprehensive and very well laid out so one could follow his natural progression as an artist. It was particularly interesting to overhear some of the comments from the people from the Albertina in Vienna who discussed how the paintings are to be hung when the exhibition moves on.They seemed to be well impressed with how well it was presented and how much backround information was displayed with each painting. Congratulations to Tate Liverpool for this excellent exhibition.

Rafaela Tsabutz...

I really enjoyed this exhibition. I had been wanting to go back to Liverpool for a long time and this event just made it perfect for me to do it now! The exhibition was easy to follow in its thematic aproach and the information given was very helpful. I absolutely adored the room showing Magritte's studies on the realitionship between word and image, and the films!! Undoubtedly, my favourite feature - together with the "pipe that is not a pipe" of course. I also enjoyed his commercial work, they were quite a suprise for me and it was revealing - as well as a bit dissapointing, perhaps? - that he did not care for it much... My only objection was the lighting - wasn't it dark in there?

Lesley Hodsdon

Like others, this was a day trip to Liverpool from London and what a magic day it proved to be with the centenary of the Liver building, the new Museum of Liverpool opening and Magritte! The exhibition was comprehensive so that you could gain a complete understanding of the many facets of Magritte's work.....the edgy, the unnerving, the commercial, the humorous and satirical - I loved the Vache paintings Paris 1948, his letters and his London visit - the chance to see them as a complete oeuvre. His images are so arresting and seeing them "live" and together was so special. So, thanks to TATE Liverpool for the courage and dynamism to mount this! Liverpool and Magritte belong together.

Tim Allen

I've enjoyed the couple of days I've spent at the Magritte exhibition. It's nice to see some old favourites and also to find some pieces I hadn't known about before - like the nightclub/cinema posters, for example.

Magritte is witty but it's usually a dark sardonic humour, except for those vache-period paintings which are exuberantly daft and anarchic, and made me at least laugh out loud.

He's also a better painter than he pretends, and that's something that comes across more when you see the original paintings than you can maybe appreciate from prints. (Patrick Caulfield can be a bit like that, too.) Magritte often seems to use painterly skill to tell a joke, or to make some other kind of point, and that all looks very healthily subversive to me.

I agree with the commentators above about the lighting, though - sometimes it's fine, but there's that first room on the left where it is too dark. This is where "Man with a newspaper" is, which for me is maybe Magritte's best and most interesting painting. You look at the man not there in three rooms, and you think, "Well, that's how life is for all of us - one minute we're holding a newspaper in a slightly self-conscious, pose-for-the-artist type way, and the next moment we're gone, we're gone, we're gone."

That idea of absence and transience is there in a lot of Magritte's work. You see it in those "dominion of light" ones, too, where we look at the same scene simultaneously at night and by day. Magritte himself found those paintings to be full of poetry. He's right, and it's a melancholy poetry that comes from reflecting on transience and the absurdity of the world we call real.

John Williams

I am originally from Bootle but now live in Leicester. I brought some friends up to see the Magritte, the Revolution exhibition at the Walkers, a brief look at the new Liverpool Life museum and an evening visit to the Gormley men on the Crosby shore. What a day: the city of Liverpool as a global cultural hub!

The Magritte seemed to me to be a truly world class event. I wondered beforehand how many of my favourite works might be included - and all of them were. The thematic hanging was well thought through an briliantly realised. The exhibition also complemented the Liverpool Life in many ways because Magritte has a wider popularity than many other artists - indeed, I had a real sense that 'ordinary' people and the young in the city were connecting with the Tate, perhaps for the first time.

Congrats are due for all concerned - but how are you going to follow it up???

John Hume

A wonderful exhibition, by far the best we have seen this year - runner up - Tate's Watercolours. We thought it was well worth the journey from Oxford. In many ways, it was better than the separate Magritte section at the Musee des Beaux Arts. (I am glad we visited his house some time ago, it helps to see the actual window and fireplace.)


Dear Sandra,

Thanks for finding the time to respond - I'm glad you enjoyed the exhibition. At Tate we endeavour to present all artworks in their best light. This goes in tandem with a concern to ensure the long-term stability and health of all artworks. When installing our exhibitions we always respect and work to agreed conservation standards. Works on paper, for example, must be presented in comparitevely subdued light whose levels are closely monitored and controlled. I'm sorry that you were disappointed with this aspect of our Magritte exhibition, but do hope you understand our requirement to respect the guidance provided by our conservation colleagues, and lenders' conditions of loan. Also, I very much hope that you will visit Tate Liverpool again soon.

Best regards,



Dear Bev,

Thanks for finding the time to respond. At Tate we endeavour to present all artworks in their best light. This goes in tandem with a concern to ensure the long-term stability and health of all artworks. When installing our exhibitions we always respect and work to agreed conservation standards. Works on paper, for example, must be presented in comparatively subdued light whose levels are closely monitored and controlled. In fact, it is usually lenders who ask that we present works behind perspex. As you must understand, it is vital for us to respect all conditions of loan.

I'm sorry that you were disappointed with aspects of our Magritte exhibition but hope that you will visit Tate Liverpool again soon.

Best regards,



Dear Catherine, Thanks for finding time to respond - I'm really pleased that you enjoyed our exhibition and hope to see you at Tate Liverpool again soon. Best, Darren


Dear Tim, Thanks for finding the time to comment. I'm really pleased that you enjoyed the exhibition - much appreciated. We look forward to seeing you at Tate Liverpool again soon. Best, Darren


Dear Laurel, Thanks for your comment, and sorry for the delay in responding. In fact, our exhibition includes three versions of Magritte's celebrated 'The Dominion of Light'. I hope these tempt you to Tate Liverpool shortly. Best regards, Darren

William Yeo

A great exhibition. The collected works were well presented in an area (4th floor) designed for such a large exhibition. An extra bonus was the brilliant sunlight and the reflections from the Mersey appearing from time to time as you passed a window. I'm never dissapointed coming to Tate Liverpool.

Felicity Brown

Brilliant exhibition. Excellent number of exhibits including the most famous works...I think! (I am..or was...fairly ignorant about Magritte.) Well-presented and helpfully annotated. Intriguing artist. I'll be back for another look...or two or three! ((I'm a member so can visit for "free". Well worth it.) I took a French friend who does know Magritte's work well. The exhibition really made his visit to Liverpool.

Keep up the good work, Tate Liverpool!